October 30, 2020


New mobile application a nit with shrimp farmers in Vietnam



A mobile application that allows farmers to track the growth of their farmed shrimp from stocking until harvest is getting high positive response from farmers in Vietnam.


This application that runs on smartphones was designed to save time and improve accuracy in shrimp aquaculture.


The application that runs on Android and iPhone was developed by XpertSea, the same company that developed XpertCount, a connected "smart bucket" that gives farmers' the count, size, weight and image of the animal samples in seconds. Months of research led XpertSea engineers to innovate the previously 5kg hardware to an enhanced application that runs on handheld mobile device.


"Too many shrimp farmers operate without the benefit of accurate standardised data and this hinders their operations and hurts their bottom line," said Valerie Robitaille, CEO, and co-founder of XpertSea.


"We wanted to create an easily accessible, ultra-portable tool that would make data collection fast, easy and reliable so that any farmer can unlock better crops and financial outcomes. With our mobile app, farmers of any size and means can use their phone to monitor pond growth and make better decisions, which improves profitability and sustainability."


According to XpertSea, using the application and a picture of the shrimp, farmers have access to instant and reliable information of their farmed shrimp such as the average body weight, growth rate and weight distribution. This information is vital in growing their crops as it enables them to identify anomalies in growth, adjust feeding system and make better decisions in transacting their business.


Case study in the Mekong


XpertSea did a case study of producers using the application including members of the Tan Hung and Bac Lieu Shrimp Cooperatives in Vietnam to strengthen their claim.


The study was done with 37 small-scale vannamei farmers who have been operating in the Mekong Delta for more than 15 years. Leveraging economies of scale, the cooperatives boosted their members' negotiation power with suppliers and provided access to new information to expand production capabilities.


As the shrimp production systems in Vietnam intensified with growing export demands, farmers were faced with new management challenges. Higher pond densities generated greater profits but also increased system sensitivity that, if not managed properly, can lead to greater loss.


Nguyen Van Truc, the leader of Tan Hung cooperative, started farming in 2013 with two earthen ponds and has now grown to 14 intensive ponds. Van Truc and other cooperative managers faced challenges assuring the accuracy of new crop stockings and the accuracy of weight sampling data, starting from the nursery tanks through the grow-out ponds. This information can negatively impact pond performance and feed conversion ratios (FCRs) if they were not accurate, according to XpertSea.


Traditional monitoring methods were manually performed that included taking a sample of shrimp, placing it on a weighing scale and checking the average body weight (ABW). If the technician write that a pond's ABW is 0.5g but did not mention that the sample had a high distribution or a high percentage of discolouring, it would not be possible for the manager to use the information to optimise feeding rates or probiotic treatments the following day.


"To make the best decisions for your farm, you must be detail oriented. Checking shrimp's health by using a weighing scale and keeping it in a written notebook was only providing a small piece of the information needed to understand pond performance," said Van Truc.


XpertSea's new mobile application makes it easier for farmers to monitor pond growth by simply taking a picture of their shrimp. This digital tool plays a critical role in reducing uncertainty and improving the farmer's decision-making process. Using only pictures taken using their smartphones, farmers were able to assess the ABW and individual weight distribution of the sample shrimp. The data is standardised and always records a photo of the shrimp, making it easier to compare information between technicians and crops.


"Using the app to measure shrimp growth is very useful. The number of samples taken is higher, faster and more accurate than the conventional manual shrimp sampling. Shrimps are healthy when sampled, free from injury and the data is stored and managed on a real-time online database," said Nguyen Van Teo, manager of a high-tech farm in the Bac-Lieu Cooperative.


While change is never easy, 100% of the cooperative members have successfully transitioned from traditional growth monitoring practices to using XpertSea's digital tools and Nguyen Trung Truc plans to continue encouraging technology adoption to improve his fellow farmers' productivity and welfare.


"Production management technique is one aspect of farming that we can control and is crucial to our success. Farmers must always make the effort to improve their practices in order to effectively adapt to industry changes or else will face greater risks unnecessarily," Van Teo said.


XpertSea's mobile application is available in the Google Play and Apple Store for all farmers in Ecuador and farmers working with XpertSea's enterprise partners across the world.


 - The Fish Site

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